City of Sydney, Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership
Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project

Much has been achieved over the past two decades to transform the Sydney Park site from its former post-industrial history and waste disposal, into 44 hectares of parkland and a vital asset for the growing communities of Sydney’s southern suburbs.

This project forms the City’s largest environmental projects to date, built in partnership with the Australian Government through the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan. It is an integral component of Sustainable Sydney 2030; targeting 10% of water demand to be met through local water capture and re-use in the park. The City also seized the once in a lifetime opportunity to use what was essentially an infrastructure project to breathe new life into the park – as a vibrant recreation and environmental asset for Sydney.

The City engaged a design team led by landscape architects Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership (TDEP) who orchestrated an intense and multi-disciplinary collaboration intersecting design, art, science and ecology – in a ‘roundtable’ of creatives shared between water experts Alluvium, artists Turpin + Crawford, ecologists Dragonfly Environmental, engineers Partridge and the City’s own Landscape Architects. Design Landscapes constructed the project.

The result is an interwoven series of community infrastructures and ‘made’ systems – water re-use, recreation, biodiversity and habitat all integrated within the physical fabric of Sydney Park. Sydney Park now offers an enhanced recreational experience to the Sydney community, going beyond the picturesque; creating instead a revitalised, multi-faceted waterscape that celebrates the connection between people and place.

After an intensive process of ‘easing in’, the water re-use project is now fully operational and intrinsically linked with its park setting. The bio-retention wetlands not only captures and cleans the equivalent measure of 340 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth per annum, but successfully improves local water quality, habitat and reduces potable water consumption in the area. The park’s fauna and flora is thriving, with new habitats created and existing ones protected and enhanced throughout the park.

The function and processes of water harvesting and cleansing is enhanced through its visible ebbs and flows through the landscape.

New pathways intersect the wetlands, allowing park users to explore and discover ‘moments’ in the landscape that can be at times playful, dramatic and peaceful, but at all times connected to the water narrative of capture, movement, and cleansing.

Highlighting these processes was an important part of the project, as they emphasise the intrinsic relationship between water, people, topography, flora and fauna. Public art is interwoven; Turpin + Crawford’s ‘Water Falls’ celebrates clean water release while also working with TDEP’s cascades to aerate water in the last link in the bioremediation treatment train. Turpin + Crawford also devised the water ‘exhaust fans’ celebrating the transfer of water from bioremediation ‘paddies’ to the lagoons; playing on the spirit of water and its interactions with topography, form, surfaces, plant life and fauna.


WaterNSW and Blue Mountains City Council
Leura Falls Catchment Improvement Project

Leura Falls Creek originates in an urbanised sub-catchment (Leura), flows through the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and drains to Sydney’s drinking water supply at Lake Burragorang.

This project included construction of 11 hard and soft stormwater structures contained within the Leura Falls Creek catchment. The catchment being treated covers an area of approximately 230 ha which largely comprises residential, commercial and light industrial zones that are fully developed with some disturbed native bushland contiguous with riparian zones that drain the catchment.

The treatment structures have been designed to effectively treat key contaminants to the drinking water catchment, nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended sediments. The structures have been selected for ease of operation and maintenance, effectiveness at removing nutrients and suspended solids whilst being sympathetic to the natural environment. One of the objectives was to make it difficult to distinguish where the natural environment ends and the treatment structures begin.